In a project, you know where you want to go, but you have to get there. A project pathway will help. Mariners learned to follow the paths of the seas; the boat pictured here evokes their intrepidity and skill.

Project Pathways for Management

Dilbert notwithstanding, we (society) have actually learned some things about management in the past 2 million years. In most organizations today, spiked clubs are out of vogue as management tools. Bullwhips are frowned on. We're coming along.

We can still do a lot better. Brian Joiner, in "Fourth Generation Management", says that we are still wasting up to half of our time and energy in modern organizations. Why? Things are getting more complex. Organizations have grown, and people in them have become more specialized. In some ways, that works well - people can concentrate on what they do best. But it increases the likelihood that communication will break down, that no one will have a systemic perspective, and that overall purposes will be obscure.

One of the common features of modern management thinking is its focus on methodologies for problem-solving. Dr. Deming used the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. Marshall-Qualtec espouses a seven-step problem solving model. The Juran Institute has a slightly different method. So does Executive Learning Inc. That said, all the approaches, while different in the details, are very similar overall.

That's why SkyMark research has focused on pathways, on finding a way to put together the steps in a project that will lead to successful conclusions. The pathway, embodied in software, is a key means of keeping a team focused and on-track. It also provides an easy way for managers of many projects or departments to keep tabs on the status and progress of work.